Local pickleball players are thrilled their dream of seeing dedicated outdoor pickleball courts in Lake Cowichan will become a reality later this year.
Earlier this month, the Town of Lake Cowichan confirmed it set aside land adjacent to Centennial Park to be developed into pickleball courts. This initiative is not part of the Centennial Park upgrades, which is funded through the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program.
Dennis Peters, who speaks on behalf of the local pickleball community, said the town responded very positively when he made a presentation to them in March, laying out his group’s desire for four permanent, dedicated pickleball courts in Lake Cowichan.
“The town looked around for land in support of our initiative,” he said. “The town has acquired that property and we had a donor who stepped forward to pay for the construction of four pickleball courts on it.”
Peters said that since he first arrived at the lake three years ago and started playing pickleball, he’s watched the sport’s popularity skyrocket from a group of 10 regulars to more than 50. There are currently indoor pickleball spaces in Mesachie Lake and Youbou, and a multi-purpose outdoor space in Honeymoon Bay. In the summertime, the curling rink at the Cowichan Lake Arena is turned into four pickleball courts, but Peters said the concrete playing surface is not ideal.
Currently the closest outdoor courts specifically for pickleball are in Chemainus.
The individual or individuals putting up the funds for construction of the pickleball courts wish to remain anonymous, and Peters said he didn’t feel it was his place to divulge specifics about how much money is being donated.
He said the courts will have a positive impact on the community and the sport itself.
“I think it’s going to draw a lot more people into the game. It will be on display as you drive by on South Shore Road,” he said. “I think it’s going to really support the growth of the community. We will be able to put on tournaments that will draw players from all over Vancouver Island and further abroad.”
Peters said his group would like to eventually work with the schools in Lake Cowichan to get youth involved, adding that some schools in other Canadian jurisdictions even have pickleball classes.
“That’s where the game could really grow,” he said.
If all goes according to plan, the four courts will be finished sometime this fall.
“We’re hoping to have them in place this fall because we basically can play all year round except for when it’s raining.”